NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Scores Show Students Aren't Ready for College

August 19, 2011

Three out of four high school graduates aren't fully prepared for college and likely need to take at least one remedial class, according to the latest annual survey from the nonprofit testing organization ACT, which measured half of the nation's high school seniors in English, math, reading and science proficiency, reports the Washington Times.

  • Only 25 percent cleared all of ACT's college preparedness benchmarks, while 75 percent likely will spend part of their freshman year brushing up on high school-level course work.
  • The 2011 class is best prepared for college-level English courses, with 73 percent clearing the bar in that subject.
  • Students are most likely to need remedial classes in science and math, the report says.

While often frustrating for professors who are forced to spend a semester teaching concepts their students should have learned by the end of 12th grade, remedial classes also carry more serious consequence.

  • Students are much more likely to drop out of college if they feel that they are simply repeating high school, says Bob Wise, former West Virginia governor and president of the Alliance for Excellent Education, a Washington-based advocacy group.
  • Taxpayers also suffer, Mr. Wise says, by "paying twice" for students to take high school-level classes again, since most remedial work doesn't count toward college graduation.

Source: Ben Wolfgang, "Scores Show Students Aren't Ready for College," Washington Times, August 17, 2011.

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